Millet was created on the initiative of Marc Millet and his wife who, in 1921, started making shopping bags and muskets. Their manufacturing workshop was then located in Saint-Fons, near Lyon. The Millet couple then worked to bring their first underwired backpacks to life. While the Millet factory quickly reached a workforce of 10 people, it moved to the Marquisates in Annecy. When her husband died, Mrs. Millet continued the adventure with the help of her two sons René and Raymond. In the aftermath of the Second World War, during which the two brothers became Maquis, provided backpacks to the Resistance, the company developed significantly. Introducing new concepts, René and Raymond Millet innovated thanks to their collaboration with Louis Lachenal, a French mountaineer who became famous for having reached Annapurna with Maurice Herzog in 1950. Millet equipped the most famous Himalayan expeditions that followed one another, benefiting from the reputation of these mountaineers who landed one by one the peaks of more than 8,000 meters. Although the brand also manufactures climbing bags, it has established itself as a specialist in mountaineering backpacks, resolutely focused on the high mountains, its reputation gradually gaining the whole world.
Continuation of the adventure of the Millet brand:
In 1959, Millet hired the services of Italian high mountain guide Walter Bonatti as a technical advisor. Mountaineer, journalist and photographer, he succeeded in 1963, the first and second north face of the Grand Jorasses with René Desmaison.
During the 60s and 70s, the Millet brothers continued their innovations and revolutionized the backpack with the advent of nylon, which replaced cotton, ensuring lightness and waterproofness. The Sherpa 50 backpack marked this period, made entirely of nylon with patented, padded and seamless shoulder straps. 1975, when the extension of the Annecy factory was impossible, a new factory was built at Frontenex, fifty kilometres from Annecy. 1977 marked the beginning of diversification with the development of a down range, the first Gore-Tex parka, and the launch of a line of high-altitude clothing, hiking and skiing. In 1978, another Italian mountaineer, Reinhold Messner, contributed to Millet's success, succeeding in the same year in the first oxygen-free ascent of Everest.
At the beginning of the 1980s, when the Millet brothers retired, the company continued to develop, with a textile collection dedicated to climbing.
In 1987, two mountaineers, Christophe Profit and Eric Escoffier, challenged each other, carrying out the complete solo winter sequence of the north faces of the Eiger, the Matterhorn and the Grandes Jorasses, their achievement contributing to the success of the Millet brand for which they were technical advisors.
In 1995, at the same time as the Racer and Gamet brands, Millet was acquired by the Lafuma group, leader on the French backpack market. Millet is becoming the high-tech flagship of the group, which perpetuates the spirit of high mountains by offering a range of sustainable technical products: hiking clothing, ski clothing such as technical jackets and trousers, backpacks for climbing, skiing and hiking, climbing shoes, hiking boots, boots for mountaineering and ice, climbing ropes, mountaineering and canyoning. The brand's 250 technical advisors are none other than the Chamonix guides of which Millet has been an official supplier since 2009.
Since the 2000s, Millet has been associated with the TSF-Millet ski mountaineering race with its 5,000 metres of altitude difference over two days, the first edition of which it initiated. Millet supports the realization of expeditions supporting individual or collective initiatives related to sport, mountains and adventure. Millet is also alongside freeriders such as Marco Siffredi who, in 2001, achieved the feat of the first full descent of the Tibetan side of Everest (8,850 m) on the north face.
Millet has never ceased to pursue its development through innovation, which has been recognized several times with various awards. In 2012, Millet received two awards for the design of its Everest mountaineering shoe and for its ULZ zip active Gore-tex jacket. Then, in 2013, Millet won a gold award for his Touring Matrix Touring ski backpack.
Since 2014, Calida, a leading Swiss lingerie company, has been a majority shareholder of Lafuma, which includes the Millet, Eider and Oxbow brands.